Our selection for the best Bluetooth headphones to buy by the end of 2023

ANC headphones-2 - Best headphones

Bluetooth headphones have evolved into essential accessories for the majority of individuals, particularly with the diminishing prevalence of headphone jacks in recent smartphones. They offer a practical, compact, and lightweight alternative or complement to wired headphones. While initially costly, the market now offers a diverse range of wireless headphone options, spanning from approximately $40 to over $300 for premium models. In this article, we offer you a comprehensive selection of the best wireless earbuds available in 2023.

The best Bluetooth headphones to buy in 2023

Apple AirPods Pro 2 (Lightning): The Best Wireless Earbuds of 2023

Apple AirPods Pro 2 USB-C

The Apple AirPods Pro 2 (Lightning) emerges as the top wireless earbuds of 2023, coinciding with the debut of the iPhone 14. These earbuds maintain the familiar form, effortlessly attaching to the auricle, and the case, featuring a speaker, follows the established design.

The AirPods Pro 2 highlighted their exceptional sound quality, solidifying their position as the market’s best regardless of usage with a smartphone. Whether for music, movies, or TV shows, these earbuds boast exclusive amplification and dynamic drivers, enhanced by the H2 chip for impeccable sound spatialization.

Comfort remains consistent during prolonged use, and direct interaction allows for functions like activation, track adjustment, volume control, and Siri invocation. Spatial Audio technology, however, requires an Apple device, limiting its accessibility for Android users.

The H2 chip contributes to improved active noise cancelling (ANC) performance, effectively silencing everyday noises such as traffic, subway sounds, and conversations. While not claiming the top spot in the market, the ANC remains highly effective. The balanced and clear rendition of bass, midrange, and treble ensures a pleasing auditory experience. In testings, the battery life surpassed 5 hours, with a 2-hour charging time, and the case supports wireless charging for added convenience.

Sony WF-1000XM4: The Premier AirPods Alternative

Sony WF-1000XM4 – Best Overall ANC Earbuds

Debuting in 2017, the WF-1000X marked Sony’s foray into compelling wireless earbuds, and the fourth iteration refines them further with a more compact design. Despite their generally comfortable fit, the shift from silicone tips to more insulating foams may not appeal to everyone.

While boasting an IPX4 certification, they aren’t specifically designed for sports activities, as the support might not be ideal during activities like running. In terms of audio, the WF-1000XM4 delivers a highly satisfying experience, characterized by precise sound and impeccable spatialization. The overall sound profile is not neutral, with pronounced bass and mids, but it’s undeniably pleasant. Notably, the active noise cancellation sets an industry standard, outperforming its counterparts.

With a commendable battery life of over six hours on a single charge with active noise cancelling engaged and the ability to provide two full charges through the case, the WF-1000XM4 stands out. Additionally, the Sony app adds value, allowing users to customize the headphone’s sound profile according to personal preferences.

The impressive WF-1000XM4 has now been succeeded by its heirs, the WF-1000XM5. These successors boast a more compact design, enhanced comfort, and the added benefit of multipoint Bluetooth, marking a notable evolution. Retaining a commendable battery life, precise controls, and near-flawless sound quality, they prove to be a significant upgrade. However, it’s worth noting that they may not surpass the AirPods Pro 2 in terms of active noise cancellation.

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3: Comprehensive Wireless Headphones

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3

Continuing its journey in the Bluetooth earbuds market, Huawei presents the FreeBuds 3 Pro. While the design remains classic, the innovation lies in construction, featuring a second transducer to reproduce intricate sounds, particularly in the treble range.

The Huawei FreeBuds 3 Pro has a broad frequency response of 14 Hz to 48 kHz, allowing for diverse sound experiences. The outcome is a well-balanced sound signature for wireless earbuds, although the treble is slightly more pronounced. Listening to music provides a platform to showcase each voice and instrument, though it’s worth noting potential hearing fatigue at higher volumes.

For daily convenience, the Huawei AI Life app facilitates headphone connectivity management, adjustment of LDAC Bluetooth codec parameters, and customization of a 10-band equalizer to suit personal preferences. The FreeBuds 3 Pro supports various audio codecs, including SBC, AAC, Hi-Res Audio, LDAC, and L2HC.

In practical use, the active noise cancellation proves effective in eliminating thuds and surrounding sounds. However, with ANC enabled, a 4-hour usage period precedes the need for recharging, a aspect where competitors outperform. Priced at $199, Huawei’s Bluetooth headphones offer compelling value for money.

Denon PerL Pro: Premium Spatialized Excellence

Best headphones

The lesser-known Japanese brand, Denon, deserves attention, especially with the impressive PerL Pro showcasing top-tier acoustics. This model delivers a robust and highly dynamic sound, achieved through the inclusion of 10 mm diameter dynamic drivers featuring a triple diaphragm made of titanium. This construction ensures low distortion across the entire sound spectrum, maintaining cleanliness even at elevated volumes.

Beyond its pleasing sound quality, the PerL Pro excels in phone call noise reduction, offering an effective and responsive system. The implementation of Dirac spatialization technology is a standout feature, providing users with multiple adjustable levels.

In terms of design, the PerL Pro may appear somewhat distinctive with a round part fitting into the pavilion. While it may not be the best fit for smaller ears, the testings found them to be remarkably comfortable. The fully programmable touch zone adds a customizable and responsive element to the user experience.

Regarding battery life, operating at 50% volume with active noise cancellation (ANC) and immersion set to +2, the PerL Pro achieves nearly 6 hours and 30 minutes. The charging case extends usage with up to four additional charges, ensuring worry-free daily use. Additionally, for those with Qi chargers, the case is compatible, adding a convenient touch to the overall package.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II: Premier Bluetooth Headphones with Exceptional Noise Cancellation

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II – Best Premium Noise-Cancelling Earbuds

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Bose introduces a commendable update with the QuietComfort Earbuds II, featuring a more compact design for their wireless headphones. The new form factor incorporates a flat touch surface positioned on the outside of the ear, ensuring both comfort and adaptability for all ear shapes. Notably, the weight has been significantly reduced compared to the initial version.

A major transformation is observed in the case, undergoing a substantial slimming down. On the audio front, the QuietComfort Earbuds II impress with a well-executed sound signature, characterized by deep bass and meticulously processed mids. Furthermore, these earbuds come equipped with a built-in equalizer accessible through the Bose Music app, offering users the flexibility to adjust their audio experience.

However, the standout feature remains the active noise cancellation, rivaling only Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 as the best in the market. The results are striking, particularly in transit scenarios. Additionally, the accompanying app allows users to fine-tune the intensity of noise reduction or transparency on an 11-level scale.

With a battery life of almost 7 hours and a total of 24 hours with the case, Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds II prove highly convenient for daily use. While their performance is laudable, some users may lament the absence of multipoint Bluetooth and the relatively average quality of calls.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 4: Affordable Excellence

Best headphones

For those seeking budget-friendly yet capable Bluetooth headphones, the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 is a noteworthy option. While the design may not be revolutionary, these earbuds offer comfortable wear, and the standout feature is the sliding lid of the case. With an IPX4 certification, they are suitable for use in sportier settings.

The true strength of this wireless earbud pair lies in its audio performance. Featuring a dual transducer system called Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture 3.0, the Liberty 4 delivers precise and detailed sound across various music genres. It excels in reproducing each instrument and vocal nuance. The microphone performs well, capturing voices accurately. The active noise cancellation, while not reaching the heights of Bose or Apple, is commendable.

While lacking compatibility with Google Fast Pair and Microsoft Swift Pair protocols, the Liberty 4 relies on Bluetooth for connectivity. The Soundcore app adds substantial value, providing a sound equalizer and even heart rate tracking. The accuracy of heart rate measurements is notable, though the inability to export data to platforms like Google Fit or Strava is a drawback.

In terms of battery life, users can enjoy 9 hours of usage, which decreases to 7 hours with active noise cancellation enabled. The case extends this to an impressive 28 hours. Charging options include a USB-C port and wireless charging. Priced at $149, these headphones offer a compelling balance of affordability and performance.

Huawei FreeBuds 5i: Unmatched Affordability in Wireless Earbuds

Huawei FreeBuds 5i Hi-res

In Huawei’s expansive ecosystem of connected devices, the FreeBuds 5i stands out as a testament to quality at an affordable price point. In terms of design, these earbuds take a conventional approach, yet they excel in providing comfort for extended wear, making them ideal for long listening sessions. The maximum battery endurance is an impressive 28 hours without active noise cancellation, but this slightly reduces to 18 hours and 30 minutes with active noise cancellation activated.

A notable feature setting the FreeBuds 5i apart in its price range is Bluetooth Multipoint, allowing simultaneous use with a smartphone and PC. The AI Life app, available on the Huawei store, facilitates minor adjustments for daily use. While the app is compatible with any smartphone brand, Huawei devices unlock additional features. The earbuds also incorporate touch controls, enabling convenient volume management.

Sound quality is commendable, with Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification ensuring a delightful audio experience, prominently emphasizing low frequencies. The frequency response curve indicates a well-balanced sound profile for the Huawei FreeBuds 5i. The active noise cancellation, while not groundbreaking, proves effective in reducing ambient noise.

For those seeking an affordable yet feature-rich wireless earbud option, the Huawei FreeBuds 5i stands as a noteworthy choice.

Sony WF-C700N: Affordable Sony Earbuds with Surprising Features

Sony WF-C700N - Best headphones

As a prominent name in the audio industry, Sony’s introduction of the WF-C700N catches the eye. These compact and lightweight Sony headphones, although constructed with PVC indicating an entry-level build, bring attention to their affordability.

A standout feature of the WF-C700N is its impressive battery life. In testings, these headphones held their own for nearly 7 hours, placing them among the top performers in their category. Without active noise cancellation, they extend to a remarkable 10 hours. The case adds an extra charge in just 90 minutes.

Beyond their endurance, the WF-C700N shines in delivering satisfactory audio quality. The sound signature prioritizes the mids, but with the ability to fine-tune the bass and treble, a well-balanced output is achievable. Spatialization is also commendable, presenting a solid overall performance for earbuds in this price range. Notably, the active noise cancellation, absent in the C500 model, meets expectations in the WF-C700N.

Price positioning emerges as a key advantage, with these headphones available from $120 at launch. And promotional offers potentially bringing the cost below $100. For those seeking affordable yet feature-rich Sony earbuds, the WF-C700N stands as a compelling choice.

Tips and Tricks to Choose the Best Bluetooth Headphones

  • Determine your budget: Bluetooth headphones come in a wide range of prices, so it’s important to set a budget before you start shopping. This will help you narrow down your options and focus on models that are within your price range.

  • Consider your primary use case: What will you be using your Bluetooth headphones for? If you’re planning to use them for workouts, you’ll need a pair that are sweatproof and have a secure fit. If you’re using them for commuting, you’ll want a pair with good noise cancellation and a long battery life.

  • Choose the right fit: Bluetooth headphones come in three main form factors: over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear. Over-ear headphones provide the best sound quality and noise cancellation. But they can also be bulky and uncomfortable for some people. On-ear headphones are a more compact option, but they may not block out as much noise as over-ear headphones. In-ear headphones are the most portable option. But they may not provide as good of a fit as over-ear or on-ear headphones.

  • Test the sound quality: Before you buy a pair of Bluetooth headphones, be sure to listen to them first. This will give you a chance to hear how they sound with your favorite music and movies. Pay attention to the bass, mids, and highs, and make sure the sound is clear and well-balanced.

  • Check the battery life: Bluetooth headphones have a variety of battery life ratings. If you’re going to be using your headphones for long periods of time, you’ll want to choose a pair with a long battery life.

  • Consider the features: Some Bluetooth headphones have additional features, such as active noise cancellation, ambient sound control, and voice assistant support. Decide which features are important to you and choose a pair that has the features you need.

  • Read reviews: Before you buy Bluetooth headphones, be sure to read reviews from other users. This will give you a chance to see what other people think of the sound quality, fit, battery life, and features of the headphones.

  • Try before you buy: If possible, try on a pair of Bluetooth headphones before you buy them. This will give you a chance to see how they fit and how comfortable they are.

  • Don’t forget about the warranty: Make sure the Bluetooth headphones you buy come with a warranty. This will protect you in case the headphones malfunction.

  • Buy from a reputable retailer: Buy your Bluetooth headphones from a reputable retailer so that you can be sure that you’re getting a genuine product.

Disclaimer: We may be compensated by some of the companies whose products we talk about, but our articles and reviews are always our honest opinions. For more details, you can check out our editorial guidelines and learn about how we use affiliate links.

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